A teacher at the English School in Nicosia has filed a complaint to the ombudswoman claiming he was being hounded for his political views.
Ombudswoman Eliza Savvidou confirmed to ‘Cyprus Mail’ that her office has received the complaint and is investigating but was unable to make further comment.
The teacher alleges he is being discriminated against by the school because he openly supports rapprochement between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
He is now apparently facing a ‘disciplinary process’ by the school that has yet to materialise. His lawyer says that the ‘witch hunt’ began some 20 months ago, following a complaint registered against him by a female colleague.
The details of the complaint are unknown, however the teacher’s lawyer has told the ombudswoman that the claims are false.
An investigation followed where, the lawyer states, the allegations against the teacher were found to be unsubstantiated.
The lawyer states:
“Up until July 2, 2015, they refused to tell him [the teacher] what he was being accused of and by what process he is to be ‘tried’, and in the meantime various frivolous accusations have been floated, interspersed with more serious, but nevertheless unfounded, allegations and incoherent claims by various persons, such as the headmaster or members of the board of management.
“So, for the last 20 months a sword is hanging over his head with the threat of a so-called ‘disciplinary process’ which continues to torment him and undermine him as a professional and an educator.”
The lawyer goes on to claim that over the past two years his client has been on the receiving end of direct and implied threats from members of the board of management, “who desire his removal from his duties and even his outright sacking.”
“This is being done for reasons clearly related to the fact he was, and remains, an ardent supporter of cooperation between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, as well as a proponent for equality and human rights and the elimination of discrimination, particularly in regard to all vulnerable groups.”
The teacher in question is understood to be involved in inter-communal activities and has repeatedly spoken his mind about the rights of ethnic groups and multiculturalism.
‘Cyprus Mail’ reports that this is not the first time the English School has experienced problems because of apparently politically-motivated antagonisms among staff.
These issues became more apparent after the opening of the border in 2003, since when Turkish Cypriot pupils were readmitted to the school for the first time since 1974.
In 1960, when Cyprus gained independence from British colonial rule, a special law was enacted passing control of the English School to the Cyprus Republic.
The government, not the education ministry, oversees the operations of the school with cabinet responsible for appointing a board of management.